La Maison Papillons

Montclus, Provence, France Book from Book from £88 per night

Gorgeous new hilltop B&B with rustic design touches and a salt-water pool, overlooking the Cevennes national park
Once a crumbling ruin in the picture-perfect hamlet of Monteil, this former farmhouse was painstakingly restored into a rustic-chic hideaway by artist Olivier and his design-savvy wife, Caroline. The couple spent a year living off-grid in a forest while they built walls, tended to the gardens and sourced furniture, and the result is simply breathtaking; the love that has gone into this restoration can be felt throughout. Old barn doors have been given new life as tables, windows have been added to frame the dramatic Cevennes mountains, and pieces of wrought iron have been upcycled into mirrors.

Wrapped in peace, our days here were magical, spent lazing by the lavender-fringed pool and exploring this extraordinary region of France, with its ancient caves, hair-pin roads and some of the country’s prettiest villages. We can't wait to come again and sit, glass of cool wine in hand, feet submerged in the pool, gazing out across the pristine rolling landscapes of the Gard as night falls.

Highs

  • Caroline and Olivier couldn’t be warmer or more welcoming, and they’re full of local recommendations
  • The setting is heaven, with long views over vineyards and olive groves to the Cevennes mountains
  • Just 6 great-value bedrooms, all unique, all special
  • A French feast for breakfast, and wonderful dinners on request
  • Perfect for couples in search of a romantic retreat, or friends seeking outdoor adventures: bikes to hire, hiking, pot-holing, rock climbing and kayaking nearby

Lows

  • It gets booked up incredibly quickly
  • You'll need a car to explore the region
  • Restaurants are a drive away and in low season many are closed
  • The WiFi was a little hit and miss, but we were here to switch off

Best time to go

The region is stunning throughout the year, but our favourite time is spring, just after Easter, when everyone comes out of hibernation, cafés and restaurants reopen, the trees are covered in blossom, but the region is still empty of visitors. Autumn is also spectacular. Summer can be hot, but you can cool off in the salt-water pool.

Our top tips

If you enjoy cycling, talk to Olivier. He is a passionate cyclist and can guide you through the most spectacular countryside routes, out into the mountains. Easier routes can be suggested for those who, like us, enjoy a leisurely cycle with frequent stops for French food! The guesthouse has bikes to hire.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Breakfast + other meals on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Honesty bar
Room:

Rooms

There are 6 rooms, including a self-contained apartment in the garden (the Duplex). We stayed in Room 1, and fell head-over-heels for its original curved ceiling and exposed brickwork. A table, made by Olivier, rests atop a hand-woven rug; wildflowers sit in vases on wooden shelves, and the sumptuous bed is covered with white linens and a soft grey throw. The bathroom is lovely too, with patterned tiles, organic toiletries by Oceopin, and a rainfall shower.

The other rooms are similarly striking, some nestled beneath the eaves. Room 4 has a vast bathtub and an extra bed (good for families), Room 5 has a lovely sitting area. We’d recommend the Duplex for couples; beautifully romantic with huge windows at the end of the bed, a basic kitchenette, and a fireplace in its living area.

Note, there are no bathrobes or TVs. All rooms have access to the kitchen's honesty bar, guest lounge and terrace.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • Toiletries

Eating

Breakfast is served on the vast terrace (or in the kitchen on rare grey days), and is a marvellous French feast. The local baker drops bread and pastries off at the house each morning, and Caroline complements these with homemade pancakes, local honey, fresh yogurt, seasonal fruit, organic granola and an array of cheeses. We loved sitting in the morning sun, overlooking the mountains, sipping on fresh coffee and talking to the other guests. Duplex guests can have breakfast for an additional cost.

Caroline can put together picnics on request, and can cook evening meals with advance notice. Her meals are exceptional: we enjoyed freshly baked bread, delicate tartlets full of fresh vegetables and goat’s cheese, followed by poached pears and apple roses.

There are some excellent restaurants in the surrounding villages - ask Caroline and Olivier for recommendations (you'll need to drive).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the pool, then play a round of petanque, accompanied by a glass of local wine from the honesty bar
  • Visit the Caverne du Pont d’Arc, a replica of the original Unesco world heritage site: it holds some of the earliest cave paintings ever found, and they are simply awe-inspiring
  • Hike in the Cevennes national park, or hire bikes; the Tour du France loops through this area, and Olivier can recommend routes and even guide you
  • Spend a day at the Gorges de l’Ardèche, an impressive canyon with steep walls, sandy beaches and free-standing arches spanning the Ardèche river. The drive through the gorge is spectacular, or you can hire kayaks to float through
  • Cycle to local vineyards
  • Head to medieval La Roque-sur-Ceze, one of the most beautiful villages in France, with pretty cobbled streets. While there, walk along the river to the impressive Sautadet Falls and swim in the river
  • There are fantastic regional markets; nearby Barjac's is on a Friday morning, and many of the stall holders are local farmers, craftsmen and bakers. At Easter and in August there is an international brocante (antique and second-hand market)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

La Maison Papillons welcomes children of all ages, but it's a very peaceful place so we'd recommend it for older kids only.

Family friendly accommodation:

Most rooms can fit an extra bed or baby cot. Rooms 2 and 4 can be set up as triples on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

A petanque pitch and a saltwater pool (unheated).

Kids Activities nearby:

Plenty to keep older kids entertained, from kayaking to prehistoric cave exploration.

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced, and there are animals (cats, chickens, a dog, and sometimes a pony) on-site.

Distances:

  • Airport: 90 mins (Nimes)
  • Shop: 5 minutes' walk
Kid Friendly:

Location

La Maison Papillons is in Monteil, 5km from the village of Montclus and 12km from Barjac and Goudargues in southern France.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Avignon - a 50-minute drive - but you could also fly into Nîmes (96km away), Montpellier (132km away) or Marseille (141km away). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

By Train & Car:
Take the TGV to Avignon or Montélimar and hire a car from there. There’s secure parking on site.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to France and getting around

Airports:

  • Avignon 82.0 km AVN
  • Nimes 96.0 km FNI

Other:

  • Beach 140.0 km
  • Shops 12.0 km
  • Restaurant 12.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

My partner and I had the most fantastic stay at La Maison Papillons.
Not only was the location, the room, the place, the pool, the food, the surrounds (everything) utterly beautiful, but Caroline and Olivier were amazing hosts. They looked after us with such care and warmth, offered wonderful ideas about things to do, booked us into fantastic restaurants, and created the most wonderful special vibe. We had a holiday break that we will not forget for some time and hope to return again soon. It was utterly wonderful. Incredible value. And, in fact, all the guests who were staying when we were, seemed to experience their place exactly as we were. Fabulous.

10/10,

We stayed at La Maison Papillons for 3 nights in May. It was a really excellent break. Caroline and Olivier could not have been more accommodating hosts. They've brought a beautiful collection of buildings back to life. The room was modern and extremely comfortable; breakfast delicious, the pool refreshing and the terrace and communal areas relaxing with stunning views. We'd highly recommend and will be back to visit.

10/10,

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